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If You Liked This Season Two Episode...
by Adam; orginally posted October 7th, 2000
Since Big Wolf On Campus often makes sly references to other TV shows and movies, I thought it might be interesting to make a list of movies similar to episodes of the series. Sort of an "if you liked this episode of Big Wolf, you might also like..." type of thing. You know, like the stuff at the end of some of those cheesy TV movies on NBC in the '80s. It's probably unlikely anyone will actually use this, but maybe it'll give you some ideas next time you're looking for something to watch at the video store. This list is for season two, and also on the 'Features' page is a list for season one. Anyway, here goes!
Ghosts have been helpful in sports movies for years. In "Windrunner", the ghost of Jim Thorpe helps train a troubled kid to play football, and in "The Sixth Man", a dead basketball player returns from the afterlife to keep his team winning. If you count angels as ghosts, there are both "Angels In The Outfield" flicks and the made-for-TV sequels, "Angels In The Endzone" and "Angels In The Infield". (If you think Disney was unoriginal there, look at the 'Air Bud' sequels.) Sports-lovin' ghosts also play a role in "Field of Dreams". If you count ghosts terrorizing football players, the plot of "Shocker" is along those same lines as well. Merton mentions "The Sixth Sense" because he thought Nasty might've been seeking help from Tommy. That didn't turn out to be the case, but "The Sixth Sense" is a pretty decent film and worth seeing, if you haven't already.. The title of this episode, by the way, comes from a Beastie Boys album, but you probably knew that.
The obvious inspiration was "Frankenstein", and the bumbling assistant who can't retrieve a proper brain is straight out of "Young Frankenstein" (not to be confused with "Young Einstein", but then, who would?). If you liked the quiz bowl scenes, you might get a kick out of "The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes" (the original or the remake).
The "traveling through time to fix the mistakes made by another trip through time" subgenre (although would anyone actually call it that?) is pretty extensive, including TV movies like "Timestalkers" and "The Flipside of Dominick Hide" to more mainstream fare like the "Back To The Future" series and (dare I say it?) "A.P.E.X". Tommy's attempt to send a message to his past self reminds me of "The Love Letter", although in Tommy's case, the letter was to keep himself from becoming a werewolf, not to pick up a 19th century poet. Using time travel to prevent catastrophes includes TV movies such as "The Blue Yonder" and "The Time Shifters", the films "Timecop" and "Future Zone", and TV series like "Quantum Leap", "Seven Days", and, again, "Timecop". The episode itself is kinda reminiscent of the pilot of "Sliders", only with traveling between alternate dimensions instead of time travel.
The Girl Who Spied Wolf
The title is a play on the old tale "The Boy Who Cried Wolf", and several movies have played on this as well -- "The Man Who Cried Wolf", "The Old Man Who Cried Wolf", "The Boy Who Cried Werewolf", and "The Crook Who Cried Wolf". Other evil groups of werewolves have appeared in "An American Werewolf In Paris", various "Howling" films, and the TV series "Werewolf". Lori discovering the truth about Tommy's secret is reminiscent of the episode "Moonlight Becomes You" of the series "She-Wolf Of London". The series "Werewolf", by the way, had a similarly titled episode, "The Boy Who Cried Werewolf".
"Damien", a first season episode of "South Park", uses a Satan-tainted wrestling match to determine the fate of the world. Another combination of wrestling and Hell is the 1999 film "Go To Hell", where an ex-pro-wrestling manager goes to Hell to reclaim his soul after it's stolen by a demon. Satan also influences sports in in the remake of "Bedazzled", where Liz Hurley turns Brendan Frasier into a 7-foot tall basketball player, and in the classic "Damn Yankees!" where a fan makes a deal with the Devil to keep his favorite baseball team on top. Oh, yeah, and the title, of course, is a play on the "Heart of Darkness"-inspired "Apocalypse Now".
The Sandman Cometh
"A Nightmare On Elm Street", which Merton mentions in this episode, also shows the deadly repercussions of bad dreams, along with the lesser-known "Dreamscape". A kinder, gentler Sandman can be seen in the 1933 film "Lullaby Land", and a...uh...less kind, less gentle Sandman appears in the 1992 Academy Award nominated animated short appropriately titled "The Sandman". If you count baddies who use the name 'Sandman', there's the ever-popular Spider-Man villain (well, and occassional Avengers reserve member) and the title character in the direct-to-video masterpiece "Sleepstalker". The Sandman putting the world to sleep was also a plot device in the Powerpuff Girls episode "Dream Scheme" and the Real Ghostbusters episode "Mr. Sandman, Dream Me A Dream".
The Geek Shall Inherit The Earth
"Mamono Hunter Yôko" (also known as "Devil Hunter Yohko") and "Vampire Hunter D", both hailing from Japan, feature other demon hunters. Demons also threaten the world in the anime series "Blue Seed", "Chôjin densetsu Urotsukidôji", and "Night Warriors" (wow, those anime writers and demons...), as well as in "Carver's Gate", "Satan's Castle", "Sh'Chur", "Savage Harvest", "Shadow Builder", and Tom Cruise's "Legend".
If you liked "Imaginary Fiend", rush out and see "Drop Dead Fred", which is very similar plot-wise, though not remotely as well-executed as this episode. An imaginary friend also comes to life in "Magic In The Mirror", and the various versions of "The Importance of Being Earnest" completely revolve around the idea of imaginary friends. Amy makes an imaginary friend (her father's first wife, who happens to be dead) in "The Curse of the Cat People" -- the sequel to the original film that inspired the season one episode "Cat Woman". An imaginary girlfriend is a crucial part in "Dream Trap" (starring Kristy Swanson, the original Buffy!), and "Real Things" has a really cool imaginary friend sequence too. Imaginary friends are also a major part of TV series like "The Adventures of McGee and Me", "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" (you know, the land of make-believe), and "Zoboomafoo". Imaginary animals are interesting too. Shemp is in love with an imaginary giant canary in "Cuckoo on a Choo-Choo", and the Snuffelupagus in "Sesame Street" is Big Bird's imaginary friend. If you count an imaginary friend dressed up as an animal, then one of the tales in "Fame Whore" would be applicable. The 1973 film "Tales That Witness Madness" has an imaginary tiger too. I guess I can't forget Barney's series or his major motion picture either (as much as I'd like to), but it's worth mentioning that Barney's feature film debut also features Mr. and Mrs. Dawkins themselves, Alan Fawcett and Jane Wheeler. This one is way too long, so I'll go ahead and move on to...
One of the best titles of any episode in the series, without a doubt. I can't think of too many movies with a hellhound. The 1978 TV movie "Devil Dog: The Hound Of Hell" comes to mind, and Gamera fought a demon dog in inexplicably-bizzare "Gamera tai Barugon". Uh...Charlie risked residency in Hell in "All Dogs Go To Heaven" when he returned to Earth. This one's hard. Feel free to look at the recommendations for "The Wolf Is Out There" from part 1 of this thing instead.
Mind Over Merton
An intelligence-increasing-experiment is also the basis of "Charly", and intelligence-enhancing drugs were also used in "The Lawnmower Man". The Purple Tentacle in the game "Maniac Mansion II: Day Of The Tentacle" sipped toxic waste that made him smarter. Intelligence experiments are also central to the 1995 TV movie "Harrison Bergeron" (also a short story), although in the opposite way (Harrison tries to avoid experiments to decrease his intelligence). Chemicals are also used to make sharks smarter in "Deep Blue Sea", and the same goes for the horrendously bad "Bats".
Blame It On The Haim
Hey, you can't forget the classic "The Lost Boys", starring Corey Haim (who, as you can probably guess from the title, stars in this episode) and Corey Feldman (who's also mentioned). An actor becomes a vampire (kind of) in "The Cloak" segment of "The House That Dripped Blood". Another instance of an actor playing/actually being a vampire can be seen in "Shadow of the Vampire", which, at least judging by the trailers, hints that Max Schreck of "Nosferatu" fame was really a vampire. ('really' as in 'in the film, really'. Yeah.) For a different twist -- an actor hunting vampires -- "Fright Night" is highly recommended, and actors also fight monsters in "Attack of the B-Movie Monster".
Pleased To Eat You
Giant spider movies, as seen at the beginning of the episode, were a staple of the '50s, including "Earth vs. the Spider", "Mesa of Lost Women", "Tarantula", "World Without End", "Missile To The Moon", "The Incredible Shrinking Man" (well, giant by comparison), and "Have Rocket, Will Travel". "The Giant Spider Invasion" is another winner. Closer to "Pleased To Eat You" is the TV movie "Curse of the Black Widow", which actually has a spider-woman. Oh, I guess I could mention the Spider-Woman cartoon/comic book character too. There was a horror anthology series in the '80s that I remember where a woman was drinking tea from a cup that had a crushed up spider in it, and she ended up transforming into a giant spider creature, but darned if I can remember what it was. I thought it might've been "Tales From The Darkside", but the production values were (a lot) higher than most of what I remember in that series. Anyway, it would've made for a great mention here. Oh well.
The Manchurian Werewolf - Parts 1 & 2
"The Manchurian Candidate", the movie Merton mentions and that inspired the title of this first Big Wolf two-parter, is a brilliant film and certainly among the best ever produced. If you liked this film, then you might also want to check out "Jacob's Ladder", which has some of the same elements (nightmares after a war, secrets from the government, etc.). The eerie brainwashing sequence is reminiscent of the infamous one in Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange". Other brainwashin' classics include "The Ipcress File" and "The Mind Benders".
The first thing that would probably come to mind is "Disturbing Behavior", but thanks to the behind-the-scenes butchering of that film, it ended up really sucking. Hey, but there are other ones! Better ones! Take "Disturbing Behavior"'s source material, "The Stepford Wives". There's Ira Levin's steamy novel, the 1975 film, and the slew of crappy TV movie sequels, "Revenge of the Stepford Wives", "The Stepford Children", and "The Stepford Husbands". Okay, just take "The Stepford Wives". :) Any of the various versions of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" would be worthwhile as well. Geiger, by the way, was clearly named after Willem Dafoe's villainous hijacker in "Speed 2: Cruise Control". (Just kidding...I hope...)
Merton mentions "Night of the Living Dead" in this episode, but "Rob: Zombie" is much more similar to the tone of the "Return of the Living Dead" series. The plot also is similar to the light-hearted teen zombie flick "My Boyfriend's Back", where a dead boyfriend returns to reclaim his lady-love, only to find a new appetite for human flesh. (More fun stuff -- "My Boyfriend's Back" also have a bunch of characters with the last name 'Dingle'.) Magic is used to raise the dead in "The Cabin" and "Plague of the Zombies", and reading an incantation to raise the dead reminds me of the first two "Evil Dead" movies. Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video is also parodied at one point (similar to the nod given to "Thriller" in "Return of the Living Dead II"). My personal favorite zombie flicks are "Dawn of the Dead" and "The Beyond", although neither really are at all similar to this episode...recommended, nonetheless. Oh, and "Zombie Nightmare". How could I forget "Zombie Nightmare"?
Fear And Loathing In Pleasantville
Although the title is a well-done play on "Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas", unless you count the hallucinations, don't expect to see much in common between the two... The power the phobiast has (had?) reminds me of Cravex from the cartoon/action figure line/comic book series "The Visionaries", who had a similar power. Needlemouth seems to be an amalgam of Pinhead from the "Hellraiser" series (only part one is any good) and Freddy Krueger.
Kinda like "Imaginary Fiend" took the plot a not-so-great movie and ended up with a really good episode, "Faltered States" snags the trippy 1980 film "Altered States". The bizarre Merchant-Ivory production "Savages" features de-evolution as well in a non-chemical-experiment-type-thingie-sort-of-way, and a de-evolution gun is used as a weapon in "Super Mario Brothers: The Movie". As far as cavemen in modern society goes, how about "Encino Man", "Eegah!", and "Iceman". Also, the message of the visionaries that are Devo, whose very name stands for 'de-evolution', bears a mention. Intelligence can be eaten!
Butch Is Back
The campy film Butch appears in is titled "The Creature From The Atomic Lunar Crater...Returns!", and atomic craters of various kinds are in the 1975 sci-fi series "Space: 1999", the TV movie "Alien Attack", and some pretty lethal alien-women emerged from an atomic crater in "Invasion of the Star Creatures". Another campy visitor emerging from a movie can be seen in the criminally-underrated "Terrorvision". Speaking of "Terrorvision" (hey, someone has to), three of the movies featured in that film sort of go along with the '50s-sci-fi camp of "The Creature From The Atomic Lunar Crater...Returns!" They are -- "Robot Monster", "Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers", and "The Giant Claw".
I'm not experienced with voodoo (sly, witty references!), but voodoo dolls are prominently featured in "Buried Alive" (umm...not for kids), one segment of the Czech film "Conspirators of Pleasure", the frame story in "Creepshow", and if you consider Chucky to be a voodoo doll -- I mean, Charles Lee Ray's spirit was transferred to a doll through voodoo -- then you can count the "Child's Play" series too. More pointless trivia: "Voodoo Child" was also the title of an episode of another werewolf series, "She-Wolf Of London".
She Will, She Will Rock You
The movie Merton mentioned, "Clash of the Titans", is a brilliant film and deserves to be watched. Now. Get up and see it. "Perseo l'invincibile" also tells the tale of Perseus versus Medusa, and the Hallmark miniseries "Voyage of the Unicorn" features Medusa and other legendary baddies. "The Storyteller: Greek Myths" mini-series has a storyteller relating the story of Medusa to his...dog, and 1971's "Malpertuis: Histoire d'une maison maudite", starring Orson Welles as Cassavius, has Medusa and other characters from Greek mythology imprisoned. There's also the somewhat-obscure 1935 film "The Night Life Of The Gods", where a scientist who can turn stone to life uses his device on a statue of Perseus, who trots around NYC with Medusa's head in his hand. Hmm. Hey, and I can't forget 1997's "Medusa", which puts a modern spin on the Medusa legend. Okay, since I clearly can't think of any real Medusas, I'll mention the '64 camp classic "Seven Faces of Dr. Lao", with Tony Randall as a male Medusa, "Terrorvision" (the late night horror show has a host named Medusa), "The Rescuers" (the villainess is named Madame Medusa), "Leonard Part 6" (the megalomaniacal badnik), "Medusa: Dare To Be Truthful" (Julie Brown's Madonna parody), Lisa Boyle's character in the TV series "Black Scorpion", and...yes...finally, Loni Anderson's role in the epic "Three Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain".
I'm amazed anyone read this all the way through! The more I read through these things, the more embarassing they seem to become.